MTUC says never consulted on amendments to Industrial Relations Act

Malaysian Trades Union Congress secretary-general J Solomon.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) today denied that it had been consulted over labour law reforms including amendments to the Industrial Relations Act (IRA) which were tabled for first reading in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday.

In a statement, MTUC secretary-general J Solomon said Human Resources Minister M Kula Segaran had lied about consulting with stakeholders before tabling the amendments.

He also accused Kula of unilaterally deciding to submit proposed amendments to the IRA, Employment Act and Trades Union Act to the Attorney-General’s Chambers (AGC) for approval.

“None of the proposals that were sent to the AGC, including the IRA amendments tabled in Parliament on Monday, were endorsed by the technical committee or NLAC,” he said, referring to the National Labour Advisory Council and the committee comprising officials from the ministry, MTUC and Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF).

Kula recently said that the amendments to the IRA would be debated and are expected to be approved by Parliament in the current session.

He also said the views of stakeholders including NLAC, MEF and MTUC had been taken into account.

However, Solomon said the minister had rushed the proposals to the AGC without waiting for MTUC to submit its proposed amendments to the NLAC.

He said an NLAC meeting had been held on Sept 27 during which MTUC asked why the ministry had “sidelined” the council and technical committee with regard to the labour law reforms.

He said MEF had also urged the ministry to convene an urgent technical committee meeting to discuss the final proposals by MEF and MTUC on the reforms. However, this never took place.

“Kula did not attend the NLAC meeting,” he added. “His deputy and the ministry secretary-general washed their hands of the matter, insisting it was Kula who wanted to table the amendments in the current Parliament sitting, hence the ‘rush’.

“Having portrayed himself as a champion for labour law reforms when he took office, the minister of human resources has unfortunately turned into the proverbial wolf in sheep’s skin, endangering the future of workers with his high-handed and unilateral decisions.”